Course Duration: 14.00 - 18.00
Group size: 6 Maximum
Age Range: 16+

Bushcraft and Friction Fire are an unbreakable partnership that has spanned millennia and no matter what modern technology hits the market it’s still a skill that evokes deep emotions. Seeing a customer achieve their first ember and blow it to flame is perhaps THE moment that stands out for many of our instructors on the courses where this skill is offered; but we recognise that in those courses we merely scratch the surface of the knowledge and technique required to succeed consistently.

In this dedicated workshop we focus on friction fire lighting using the bow drill method to explore this exciting, educating, and empowering skill that opens the door on so much knowledge.

When Ernest Thompson Seton was asked "Why bother learning fire lighting by rubbing sticks, when we live in a world of matches?" he famously answered "You are thinking of the fire that is lighted down there, (pointing at the ground), I am thinking of the flame that is kindled in here!" (pointing at his breast).

For us at Woodland Ways there is no better benchmark of fundamental 'woodsmanship' than mastering the ability to go out into the forest source your own components, shape them and then conjure fire using the bow drill. To achieve this end goal friction fire calls on a wide variety of skills including tree identification, safe and effective tool use, appreciation of tinder materials and the fine tuning of personal motor skills. And while bow drill is just one of a large family of friction techniques for producing an ember it is also the perfect beginning to understand all the characteristics required of every component. Armed with this knowledge muscle memory an onward journey of practice of this and then other friction fire methods becomes far more achievable and less of an enigma that sits beyond your reach.

During this half-day workshop your instructor will guide you through the entire process of using the bow drill. We start things off with a introduction to all essential components and their detailed qualities that may not be essential but certainly improve your chances oif success. Armed with a full understanding of the components it’s time for a demonstration on the technique of getting your body to work with the set rather than fight against it; friction fire shouldn’t require brute strength, unending reserves of stamina or luck. You will be shown just how effortless the whole process can be with practice. Armed with all the knowledge necessary time is then handed over for your own practice under the expert guidance of your instructor. Don’t expect perfection first time out but with our input, suggestions, guidance and your determination and perseverance you can expect to see significant changes in your technique and the consistency with which an ember is achieved.

With a few embers glowing and igniting that internal flame within we turn our attention onto the tinder bundle itself. This skill is often not given the attention it deserves but is can be the point at which all your hard work fails, or worse, simply falls to the floor. The correct materials and qualities are crucial but so is the construction and the control of oxygen flow being applied. Watching the ember glow, sparkle, spit back and spread throughout your ember extender and into the tinder itself is captivating. Observing changes in smoke colour, heat increase and the point at which combustion is imminent are all things to consider to become proficient in this final step and avoid the frustration that can await.

Once the basics are covered and understanding has been expanded, we will also discuss variations within this technique both for engaging large groups and younger participants to aid an onward journey of practice and sharing with others.

All materials required to take part in the workshop will be provided.

This course is for over 16's although under 18's must be accompanied by an adult. Workshops are held at our World Of Bushcraft Centre in the Peak District, where free tea and coffee will be available.